Ramped up efforts to fix the city backed by federal funding have made the future bright for Opa-locka, Mayor Myra Taylor said in her annual State of the City address Friday night.
Taylor had a success story of Humpty Dumpty in mind when she addressed nearly 400 people, including Opa-locka residents and neighboring city elected officials at Sherbondy Village community center.
Among the crowd were Miami-Dade County officials, including Commissioner Barbara Jordan, District 2 School Board Member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and a staff member representing U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
The mayor’s use of the popular English nursery rhyme came near the end of her 20-minute speech after she boasted about the city’s million-dollar development projects, including the infrastructure master plan, phase one of restoration of historic City Hall and public art transformation project.
“You see unlike Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall and had a great fall, Opa-locka saw that wall and decided not to climb that wall, but break through that wall,” Taylor said. “The wall denied us respect and limited our view to possibilities, but if we stay the course, the grand city of Opa-locka will make its mark in history.”
Taylor ran through her list of the commission’s accomplishments finalized over the last year, including the completion of the city’s consortium early-learning childhood center, teen summer job program, and the implementation of the citywide Wi-Fi system. She also briefly mentioned the city’s aggressive campaign to help residents and employees enroll in President Barack Obama’s affordable healthcare.
“It got everybody’s attention,” said Newall Daughtrey, a resident of the city and director of Opa-locka’s Community Revelopment Agency. “And people did listen to her. It was excellent.”
The mayor credited the leadership of Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes and Commissioners Joseph Kelley, Terence Pinder and Luis Santiago for the city’s transformational improvements, which included securing $40 million in a revolving loan to fix flooding, pot holes and wastewater issues.
Although the mayor spoke highly of the city’s progress, she didn’t mention anything negative — including how Opa-locka can’t afford $500 holiday bonuses promised to city employees and a lawsuit against Holmes challenging his November re-election.
“Tonight is vision, a second round,” Taylor said during her speech.
Round two of Taylor’s “Opa-locka Express,” a phrase she coined at last year’s address, discussed the opening of new businesses, restaurants and a new youth resource center. She also mentioned bringing a medical urgent care center to town, but did not dive into any details of the future of the facility.
The hour-and-a-half event incorporated instrumental performances by Miami Northwestern Senior High School’s Marching Bulls and and the Bahamas Junkanoo Revue, Miami’s Bahamian dancing parade group with drums, cowbells, and whistles. The First Haitian Church of God’s youth choir Voices of Faith also performed a few gospel songs before the mayor’s address.
“The Opa-locka Express train is still on course, parked at the station, but ready to move into the future,” she said. “I have a dream to spread our wings and reach new heights.”
She called for residents to look forward with her to “see tourists visiting the downtown development” and “feel the victory of annexation.”
“Ask me how I know!” Taylor said. “Because I’m the mayor and I approve this message.”